5 Key Ways to Combat Vehicle Theft

May 2024

Close up of a person locking their vehicle with a key fob

Protect your ride and your wallet.

Our cars, SUVs, and trucks get us where we’re going and help us show off our taste and style. So if you’ve been hearing buzz about vehicle theft rates rising, you might be worried. But here’s the good news: There are plenty of simple ways to help keep your car safe and sound and have more peace of mind. Here are five can’t-miss tips:

1. Lock it Up

It’s easier than ever to lock your vehicle—especially now that keyless fobs are the norm. But with innovation comes new challenges: Vehicles with keyless entry can be broken into or stolen even when the car is locked and the alarm is on. To help reduce your risk, you can keep your fob in a shielded container designed especially for that purpose—they’re inexpensive and worth exploring. And whether you have keyless entry or not, when you leave your vehicle make sure to put your windows up, close your sunroof, lock your doors, and take any personal items with you (see No. 3, below)—even if you’ll only be gone for a few minutes.

2. Use an anti-theft device

Thieves usually look for an easy mark, so give them a reason to look elsewhere. If your vehicle has an alarm system, get in the habit of turning it on when you leave. Bonus: Anti-theft devices can help prevent theft of commonly stolen parts like catalytic converters. Some folks also use a steering wheel lock—they’re useful for collector or antique vehicles that don’t have a built-in alarm system and even for newer cars that do.

Did you know...

  • Vehicle theft is a multibillion-dollar crime, costing vehicle owners more than $8 billion in 2022
  • Approximately one motor vehicle is stolen every 32 seconds
  • Vehicles with the highest theft rate in 2022 were full-size pickups

Sources: National Highway Traffic Administration; National Insurance Crime Bureau

3. Don't leave things in your vehicle

If you’re parking on the street or in a public garage, take everything with you when you get out of your car or truck. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to leave an empty backpack or duffel bag in the backseat, thinking, “Hey, it’s empty, there’s nothing of value in there.” But even a small and inexpensive item can attract unwanted attention from criminals. Plus, even if it wouldn’t bother you to lose your bag (or raincoat or gloves), you certainly don’t want to pay to repair a broken window.

4. Park under the lights

You might not always get to choose where you park, but when you can, park in well-lit and busy areas. You’ll likely feel more comfortable coming and going, and your vehicle will be safer in general.

5. Keep spare keys in a safe place

It’s super convenient to have a spare key. But avoid making that spare key super convenient for car thieves. In other words, don’t leave it on or near your vehicle, because would-be criminals may find the key, hop in the car, and make a clean getaway.

What to do if your vehicle is stolen

Even if you do everything in your power to prevent theft, sometimes it’s just out of your control. So if your vehicle is stolen, immediately report the theft to the police and to your insurer—and when you do, be ready to provide key vehicle information like the make, model, color, license plate state and number, and VIN (the vehicle identification number, which is listed on your insurance policy and also can be found in your vehicle—check the owner’s manual or look online to see where it is in your car).

Your vehicle belongs to you. Keep it that way.

You’ve worked hard to get the car, truck, or SUV you’ve always wanted. Follow the tips above to help keep it safe and avoid the unnecessary costs and inconvenience of vehicle theft.



The information we share on our site is intended to serve as a general overview. Please refer to your policy or contact your local independent agent for specific coverage details.


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